In the last month or so, both Cardinal Schoenborn of Austria and Archbishop Dadeus Grings of Brazil have spoken on the topic of homosexuality. I found it really interesting how the comments made by each of these individuals varied from the current teachings of the Catholic Church. It is also interesting to note that not only did they vary from the teachings of the Church, but they were on opposite sides of the spectrum, one appears to be in favor of homosexual relationships and one completely against homosexuality.
Let’s start with what Cardinal Schoenborn stated:
“We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships, a stable relationship is certainly better than if someone simply indulges in promiscuity.”
This comment has generated a lot of buzz on the Internet and I’m sure in many other locations as well. I have read some articles that suggest that Cardinal Schoenborn is saying that he believes that homosexual relationships should be approved by the Church. I have read others that feel what Cardinal Schoenborn stated is completely wrong, because in what the Church teaches that a “normal” relationship cannot be formed between two people of the same gender. Others have tried to defend Cardinal Schoenborn by saying that what he really meant was that the degree of sin would be lessen (objective depravity) if it was within a stable relationship versus acting out with random sexual partners.
I would have to say I believe that what Cardinal Schoenborn was referring to would be the latter, that he was saying that he believes the degree of the sin, even though it would be a grave sin, that in some way it would be lessen because there was some substance to the relationship. I would have to say that I agree with Cardinal Schoenborn that a stable relationship is much better then meeting random guys and engaging in sexual acts with them.
I remember reading a blog entry by a fellow gay Catholic where he wrote about the Pope speaking on condom usage and why the Church is against it. There were many comments on this blog entry that were written so negatively against the Church and how people felt that the Pope was wrong for saying this. I had to leave a comment in some ways defending the Pope. I wrote something to the effect of “Wouldn’t you rather at the end of your life say to God that this person was the one that I loved versus saying to God, yeah, I slept with 100 people?”. To me, this is similar to what Cardinal Schoenborn was saying, that even if one believes that two people of the same gender engaging in sexual acts is a sin, that God would have mercy on those that based it on love, not self pleasure.
Second let’s look at what Archbishop Dadeus Grings said:
“We know that the adolescent is spontaneously homosexual. Boys play with boys, girls play with girls. If there is no proper guidance, this sticks. The question is — how are we going to educate our children to use a sexuality that is human and suitable?”
He went on to say in the same interview:
“When sexuality is trivialized, it’s clear that this is going to affect all cases. Homosexuality is such a case. Before, the homosexual wasn’t spoken of. He was discriminated against. When we begin to say they have rights, rights to demonstrate publicly, pretty soon, we’ll find the rights of pedophiles.”
I personally think that Archbishop Grings was out of place making comments like this. I think the problem here is Archbishop Grings doesn’t really understand the complexity of being gay and Catholic. I also find it troubling that he says that in the past homosexuality wasn’t spoken about, it was discriminated against. This completely goes against the Church’s teachings on having respect and compassion for those “dealing” with homosexuality. I believe comments like this do more harm to not only gay Catholics, but to the entire Church. Spreading messages of hate instead of love and help are not in line with what Jesus has taaught us.
I still think the Church has a long way to go, but I am glad that there are people like Cardinal Schoenborn who are not out there condemning individuals just because they are gay. I think it’s especially important for the leaders of our Church to understand that there are gay Catholics that attend Mass on a regular base, volunteer to help improve the community they live, and try to be the best person they can be. Having negative comments such as those by Archbishop Grings only hurts these people, the people that are trying their hardest to do what they know God is calling them to do.